West Oakland

Chris Hambrick


Here in the Bay Area, rents are rising, and housing inventory is shrinking. It’s forcing many here to decide -- either you have to leave the area completely, or you have to get creative about your housing situation. There are people living in remodeled warehouses and RVs -- but what if you wanted to create your own out-of-the-box house?

Daily news roundup for Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Apr 14, 2015
Eric Vasquez / Creative Commons

Here's what's happening in the Bay Area, curated by KALW news:

BART can’t keep pace with rising 'crush loads’ // SF Gate

"With a familiar beep-beep, a Fremont-bound BART train rumbles into MacArthur Station in Oakland and an equally familiar routine begins. Hundreds of passengers exit. Most walk, some jog, across the platform and form neat lines as a San Francisco train rolls in.


Surveillance and privacy issues have been in the news a lot in the past few years. Perhaps the biggest news was made by by Edward Snowden, who leaked information about the NSA’s massive collection of American citizens' cell phone data. But the privacy debate has also hit closer to home. You may remember last spring, when the Oakland City Council debated a controversial surveillance hub called the Domain Awareness Center, or DAC.

Jakub Masur


Remember in 2008 when the terms green economy and green collar jobs were big buzz words? You probably know the basic idea: if we’re going to curb the climate crisis we need to replace energy sources and other systems with green ones. The transition will be a lot of work, but the upside is, we have a lot of people looking for work.


Like everywhere in the Bay Area, home prices in Oakland have recently gone through the roof. The price of a house there is up almost 70% in the past two years. But West Oakland resident Steve DeCaprio has discovered an unusual way to acquire a home for free. DeCaprio has become an expert in finding and taking over abandoned homes – and it’s not as illegal as it might sound.

As the tsunami of foreclosures in Oakland finally subsided over the past year, residents of the city's flatlands neighborhoods looked around at the new landscape and saw less room for themselves and people like them. Many of their neighbors were gone, of course. And many of the foreclosed homes were snapped up — not by new homeowners, but by large-scale investors, including national and global corporations.


Mead Avenue is a single block in West Oakland in the triangle where San Pablo Avenue and Market Street meet. Like streets in a lot of low-income communities, Mead Avenue has seen poverty, gangs, gun violence, the crack epidemic. There’s also a church on the corner, a Boys and Girls Club across the street, and a non-profit dedicated to Men’s Health close by. None of those things may be as important to Mead Avenue’s future as that big thing our entire economy revolves around: real estate. Here’s Derek Suring, a real estate agent in Oakland.

Photo courtesy of: Ca gov

West Oakland is a neighborhood in transition – more people are moving in, and developers have it in their sights as the next up-and-coming place to live. But the neighborhood’s air quality is some of the Bay Area’s worst. A recent report by UC Berkeley’s Institute of Transportation Studies found that new laws for trucks had dramatically reduced emissions – but there’s still a long way to go.

Margaret Gibson has lived on 10th street in West Oakland for all of her 52 years.

“It's a little tough some times, but it's home, and I love it.”

Credit union serves Oakland's "unbanked" population

Feb 6, 2012

The main room of the People's Federal Credit Union (PFCU) is across the street from the West Oakland BART station. It's about the size of a modest living room. A few bank tellers are behind thick glass. A big sign on the wall announces “4,000 Members” in green lettering. This is where Sayala Eisner-Mix, the Community Programs Coordinator of PFCU works. She's about to begin a credit report review, her third one today.